Bulldogs Drop First Two Games On Florida Trip

Hannah Brennan (Rocco Labbadia photo)

Balta Singles In Each Game For Yale

TAMPA, Fla. – Yale faced a big challenge on the first day of its stay in Florida. The Bulldogs took on two teams that have already played a combined 47 games. Yale more than held its own but ultimately found itself on the short end in both games.

Central Michigan (14-6) scored four-runs in the third inning en route to a 7-0 victory in Yale's first game of the day at the beautiful USF Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs then dropped a 2-0 decision to South Florida (20-7) before a crowd of 681.

Tori Balta had a hit in each game for Yale (1-4).

The Bulldogs got strong pitching performances in each game. Chelsey Dunham allowed only one earned run in four innings of relief against Central Michigan. Against South Florida, freshman Lindsay Efflandt struck out five in six innings of work.

Yale had plenty of scoring chances against CMU. Singles from Sarah Onorato and Hannah Brennan put two runners on base in the first inning, but Morgan Yuncker worked out of the jam.

The Bulldogs also had two runners on in the third as Allie Souza and Balta each walked, but Yuncker, again stiffened.

In the fifth, Laina Do led off with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Balta then singled and stole second to put two runners in scoring position with one out, but that was as far they got.

In all, the Bulldogs left seven runners on base in the game.

"We just couldn't get the timely hit," said Yale head coach Jen Goodwin. "Central Michigan has some outstanding hitters who made great adjustments at the plate throughout the game."

The second game was a pitcher's duel between Efflandt and USF's Sam Greiner. The Bulls pushed across single runs in the third and sixth innings.

Yale was limited to one hit in the game, a single by Balta leading off the fourth inning.

The Bulldogs did threaten in the seventh. With one out, Hannah Brennan was hit by a pitch. Sara Nevins was then summoned from the bullpen, and she struck out the next two hitters to preserve the victory for the Bulls.

"I was so proud of how we bounced back against USF," Goodwin said. "Lindsay, in her first start of the year, showed everyone she's up to the challenge and is afraid of no one. [Catcher] Sarah [Onorato] worked well with her and called a fantastic game and really kept their hitters off balance. We were solid defensively and hung with a team who is getting votes in the top 25 polls which is huge for us. 

"We schedule teams like today who were in the NCAA Tournament last year so we can measure up. Today we showed we can step on the field with anyone."

Yale travels to Orlando for two games on Wednesday. The Bulldogs face Florida Atlantic at 1 p.m. and meet Central Florida at 6 p.m.

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity